Feel like you need to make some changes to the way the family eats? Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve put together 20 Easy Tips To Encourage Healthy Eating for your family:
#1. Start with Small Changes
You can’t change habits overnight but you can start to make small changes one at a time. This is the best approach anyway as you won’t feel overwhelmed but you will feel in control as you start to change things slowly.
#2. Aim for More Fibre
Introduce more fibre to the family diet. Here are some ways to introduce more fibre to what you and the kids eat:
- Swap in whole grain cereal or brown bread instead of white for breakfast.
- Try baking with different flours that have more fibre, eg wholemeal, spelt.
- Add some cooked beans to your pasta sauce, e.g. butter beans, kidney, white, black, pinto, lima.
#3. Serve Smaller Portions
Portion size is a real problem sometimes and people tend to try to eat what’s on their plate. So try a smaller plate size or smaller portion size. Get familiar with what a reasonable portion size is for children and adults.
#4. Don’t Get Caught in the Clean Plate Trap
It’s ok not to finish your meal if you are full. We are from the generation whose parents encouraged us to clean our plates which might mean you are overeating (if you haven’t checked portion sizes). So Dad, as fun as the Clean Plate Club was, I’m going to give that a miss now.
#5. Don’t Skip Breakfast
You might also enjoy reading 10 Easy Steps to Improve Family Nutrition
#6. Eat a Rainbow
There’s a useful Fact Sheet about Fruit & Veg on the Nutrition Australia website which has a chart of the different fruit and veg by colour and suggestions and tips.
- Make a rainbow fruit salad with fruits of each colour: strawberry, orange, mango, melon, kiwi, banana, and blueberries.
- Stir fry a mix of veg of each colour: red onions, carrots, baby corn, broccoli and mushrooms.
#7. Increase Whole Grains
Try to make at least half the grains in your diet whole grains, they are good sources of complex carbohydrates and some key vitamins and minerals.
- Start cooking whole grain pasta or rice, you could always do a half and half with white pasta or rice as you get used to the whole grain version.
- Use grains as side dishes to boost fibre, e.g. wholemeal couscous with burgers or wholemeal bread with soups or stews.
- Use wild rice or barley in soups, stews, casseroles and salads.
- Use crushed whole-wheat bran cereal or rolled oats in recipes instead of dry bread crumbs.
More tips on introducing whole grains to your diet.
#8. Eat Fish at Least Once a Week
Fish is a really nutritious food, rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, all essential to maintaining good health. Our diets in the West tend to be low on omega-3 fatty acids as well, those are good for healthy brain, eye and nerve development in babies and children, and are good for heart health. (more on the benefits of eating fish over at www.safefood.eu)
Aim for a portion of oily fish once a week, eg Salmon, Mackerel as well as the omega-3, they are a rich source of vitamins A, D and E.
Fussy Eater in the house? check out our Top Tips for Fussy Eaters
#9. Try to Reduce Sugar Intake
Do you know how much sugar you are really consuming? Here are 4 good reasons to reduce sugar:
- Sugar adds empty calories to food.
- Added sugar increases cholesterol.
- Reducing sugar can lower blood pressure.
- Sugar increases fat storage.
And some tips:
- Drink flavoured waters instead of soda pop
- Try a square or two of dark chocolate instead of a biscuit or cookie
- Try apple slices with a spoonful of peanut butter if you feel the need for something sweet
#10. Shoot for Super Foods
Superfoods are low on calories, high on nutrients, and are good sources of antioxidants. According to WebMD, these are the Super Foods everyone should eat:
- Tea (green or black)
There’s a great A to Z of Superfoods on Greatist.com.